Goswami and her husband, Bala Dommeti, opened Pixie's Nursery in March when they moved to their new property at 2024 McDaniel Mill Road, a former hosta farm in Rockdale County. Staff Photo: Karen Rohr.
Mrilani Goswami walks along a wooded path in her backyard through thousands of plants she cultivates as stock for her new business, Pixie's Nursery. Some plants she's propagated herself; others she's ordered through fellow growers. For all, she holds a passion.
"This was kind of a hobby that turned into a profession," said Goswami of the nursery. "I've changed professions so many times but I love this."
Goswami and her husband, Bala Dommeti, opened Pixie's Nursery in March when they moved to their new property at 2024 McDaniel Mill Road, a former hosta farm in Rockdale County.
The bulk of the 5,000-plus plants, all perennials, grown at Pixie's Nursery (which is named after the couple's dog) are ornamental shrubs and trees, along with fruit trees.
Among the plants are gardenias, hydrangeas, tea olive, crepe myrtle, roses, weigelas, Japanese red maples, dogwoods, burning bush, spireas, butterfly bush, hosta, rose of Sharon, hardy hibiscus, clethra, leylands and blue rug juniper.
Fruit trees include blueberry, apple, fig, pomegranate, strawberry, plum, blackberry and peach and grapevines.
Pixie's sells plants primarily wholesale, with much business done through a garden network, www.freeplants.com. But the couple is making efforts to expand its local reach and invites the public to come by and peruse their collection of plants, which start at $2.50.
Goswami said Pixie's can offer a better selection of plants, including unusual varieties, than big box stores because she is connected to other nurseries nationwide through the network.
Goswami can also offer personalized service and extensive advice about gardening because she is a certified master gardener.
"I'm not an extrovert," said Goswami, "but when it comes to plants, I love to talk to people."
Another advantage her plants have over plants sold at larger outlets is that they are grown in Georgia, not in a hothouse environment, making them hardier, she said.
Goswami and her husband, originally from India, operated a pizza restaurant and a gas station in Newton County before the poor economy forced them to close the businesses a few years back.
In India, Goswami's parents gardened, igniting her interest in the hobby. Dommeti's father was also a devoted gardener.
"It's in the family. We had it in our genes," Goswami said.
By starting her business, Goswami said she's made a lot of friends who are also "plant crazies" and she appreciates the flexible hours a home-based business provides.
With fall being the best time to plant, Goswami is looking forward to business picking up a bit.
A former teacher and social worker in Calcutta, Goswami said gardening offers good therapy in a world that can be stressful.
"It's peaceful. It takes away your frustrations," Goswami said. "It makes you happy. If you're looking for happiness, this is a cheap way to get it."
Pixie's Nursery is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and other times by appointment. For more information, call 770-679-5125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.